Garlic has been used for centuries as both a culinary ingredient and a natural medicine. In recent years, taking garlic shots, or drinking small amounts of straight garlic juice or oil, has gained popularity as a potential remedy for various health conditions. This article will explore what garlic shots are, their proposed benefits, potential side effects, and overall efficacy according to scientific research.
What Are Garlic Shots?
Garlic shots refer to concentrated forms of garlic that are taken straight, without being diluted or mixed into food. There are a few main types of garlic shots:
- Garlic juice shots – Juice pressed directly from raw garlic cloves.
- Garlic oil shots – Oil that has been infused with garlic. This is sometimes called “aged garlic extract.”
- Garlic powder shots – Garlic powder mixed with water.
These types of garlic shots may contain varying amounts of active compounds found in garlic, such as allicin and other antioxidants. Allicin in particular is thought to be responsible for many of garlic’s medicinal properties.
Proposed Benefits of Garlic Shots
Over the years, garlic shots have been touted to provide many different wellness benefits. Here is an overview of some of the main potential benefits:
Some of the most researched effects of garlic are related to heart health. Garlic may:
- Lower blood pressure.
- Decrease cholesterol levels.
- Reduce arterial plaque buildup.
- Improve circulation.
These effects are thought to be linked to garlic’s high levels of antioxidants as well as polysulfides, which have been shown in studies to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels dilate and allows them to be more flexible.
Immune System Support
Garlic also contains compounds like allicin that have natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Taking garlic shots may help:
- Fight bacterial and viral infections.
- Reduce severity and frequency of colds and flu.
- Speed recovery when sick.
The antioxidants in garlic help stimulate the liver and promote detoxification. Garlic shots may:
- Boost liver function.
- Increase glutathione levels.
- Enhance heavy metal and toxin elimination.
Chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases. Garlic contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help:
- Lower inflammation markers like CRP.
- Reduce risk of chronic conditions like arthritis, IBD, and neurodegenerative disease.
- Soothe inflammatory skin conditions.
The sulfur compounds in garlic have been shown to neutralize carcinogens and halt cancer cell growth. Regularly consuming garlic shots may:
- Inhibit tumor growth and activation.
- Boost effects of chemotherapy medications.
- Lower risk of certain cancers like stomach, colon, and prostate.
Garlic has natural antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects. Taking garlic shots may help:
- Treat fungal infections like candida overgrowth.
- Fight viral infections including colds, flu, and herpes.
- Kill harmful gut bacteria while preserving beneficial bacteria.
Potential Side Effects of Garlic Shots
Garlic shots are considered safe for most people when used appropriately. However, there are some potential side effects to be aware of:
- Digestive upset – Garlic shots may cause bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting when taken on an empty stomach.
- Body odor – Garlic’s compounds enter the bloodstream and release through sweat and breath, which can cause noticeable odor.
- Allergic reactions – Some people may be allergic to garlic and experience rashes, itching, or swelling.
- Low blood pressure – Large amounts of garlic could increase garlic’s hypotensive effects and cause blood pressure to drop too low.
- Bleeding risk – Garlic has blood thinning effects, which could increase risk of bruising and bleeding.
To help avoid adverse effects, it’s best to start with low doses of garlic shots and avoid taking them on an empty stomach. Those on blood thinners or with upcoming surgery should consult a doctor before using garlic shots.
There is no standardized recommended dosage for garlic shots. The amount that is safe and effective can vary substantially based on the individual and the specific health concern being addressed.
As a general guideline, most experts recommend the following doses as a starting point:
|Type of Garlic Shot
|0.5-1 mL (about 1/4 tsp)
|0.5-1 mL (about 1/4 tsp)
|250-500 mg (about 1/4-1/2 tsp)
These small amounts can be taken 1-2 times per day. Larger doses may be used under medical supervision, but should not exceed more than 4 mL (4 grams) per day.
It’s best to start low and gradually increase the dosage if needed to minimize risk of side effects.
How to Take Garlic Shots
Here are some tips for taking garlic shots properly and minimizing odor and digestive issues:
- Take the garlic shot first thing in the morning or before meals.
- Drink plenty of water immediately after taking the shot.
- Follow with herbs like parsley, lemon, etc. to help neutralize garlic breath.
- Consume probiotic foods after taking garlic to support healthy gut bacteria.
- Start slow and only increase dosage gradually over time.
Garlic Shot Recipes
Garlic shots can be easily made at home. Here are some simple recipes to try:
- 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
- Juicer or press
- Run garlic cloves through a juicer according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Drink 0.5-1 mL of raw garlic juice immediately.
- Can store leftover juice in fridge for 1-2 days. Shake well before using.
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 8-10 garlic cloves, minced
- Small glass jar with lid
- Add olive oil and minced garlic to jar.
- Seal lid and shake well to combine.
- Store in cool, dark place and let sit for 1 week, shaking jar daily.
- Strain oil through cheesecloth into another jar.
- Drink 1 mL (or as directed) of garlic oil each day.
Garlic Powder Shot
- 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 oz water
- Add water and garlic powder to small glass.
- Stir or shake until powder is dissolved.
- Drink entire contents immediately.
Scientific Research on Efficacy
Despite garlic’s long history of medicinal use, modern research on the efficacy of garlic shots is fairly limited:
- Small studies show garlic juice and aged garlic extract may modestly reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and arterial plaque in those with heart disease. More rigorous research is still needed.
- Evidence that garlic shots specifically can prevent or treat colds, flu, and infections is weak. Whole garlic cloves may be more effective.
- Clinical data on garlic’s anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects are primarily limited to cell culture and animal studies. Human research is needed.
- There is some research showing garlic shots may improve detoxification capacity and antioxidant status. However, larger trials are required.
Overall, garlic shots show promise for certain wellness benefits. But higher quality clinical trials are necessary to truly determine efficacy, optimal dosing, and safety.
Should You Try Garlic Shots?
Used appropriately and under medical supervision if needed, garlic shots are likely safe for most individuals. They may offer a more concentrated delivery of garlic’s beneficial compounds.
However, garlic shots have not been proven definitively more effective than simply eating fresh garlic cloves regularly. Whole garlic contains a wider range of beneficial phytochemicals that may have synergistic effects.
Talk to your healthcare provider before taking garlic shots, especially if you have any bleeding disorders or are taking blood thinners. Additionally, consult your doctor if you experience any concerning side effects after taking garlic shots.
In conclusion, garlic shots should not replace eating fresh garlic itself. But as an adjunct, they may provide a convenient way to supplement with garlic’s key health-promoting compounds. Further research is still needed to confirm efficacy and optimal use.